Category Archives: Housekeeping

Pardon My Absence

Well, hello! Bet you’ve been wondering if I’ve fallen into a hole or something. Actually, my computer died and I’m posting this via a cellphone, which is torture. Semi-regular posting should resume next week.

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The Question Must Be Asked

Gotta wonder if we’d all be Charlie if Islam weren’t in the equation. Hard to tell, of course. But we do have recent history to inform us as we ask the question.

Were we all Unitarians when a gay-hating, right-wing crazy shot up a Unitarian Universalist church in East Tennessee? No, we were not.

Were we all Planned Parenthood when an anti-abortion extremist murdered Dr. George Tiller as he handed out programs at his church? No, we were not. (Indeed, Bill O’Reilly, who ginned up much of the hatred of Dr. Tiller with a string of violent hyperoble, claimed any attempt to blame him for the murder was typical liberal propaganda).

So clearly it’s not the violent act which has spawned this outpouring of support.

And don’t tell me it’s all about free speech, either. No one on the right seemed to notice when Gov. Bill Haslam passed this law back in 2011.

I really think there’s a lot of hypocrisy going on in this discussion of the tragic events in Paris. Maybe we’ll get around to talking about that some day, too.

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Good News Friday

Here’s some good news to start the weekend off right. Enjoy!

• Post-Newtown gun control efforts have been more successful than it appears. Despite the failure to pass a national law, state-level efforts have yielded results:

An untold story of the post-Newtown debate over gun control is how much happened at the state level: while the national media deemed gun control impossible after Congress failed to act, eight states made significant or sweeping changes to gun laws, while only four states significantly weakened them, according to analysis by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Mark Follman at Mother Jones crunched the numbers and found that more than half of all Americans now live in a state with stronger gun control laws than existed before Newtown.

• The United Nations’ annual report on hunger says there are now 100 million fewer chronically hungry people compared to 10 years ago.

• Colorado’s county jailers have become the first in the country to reject ICE holds.

• The 260-year-old St. Andrews golf club (officially, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews) has voted to admit women members, effective immediately.

• An International Monetary Fund working paper has concluded that addressing climate change with carbon pricing would have no negative effects on growth and would, in fact, stimulate economic growth.

• Effective immediately, the Air Force has announced that enlistees are no longer required to say “so help me God” as part of their enlistment oath.

Interesting: Scientists discovered two new species of animal back in the 1980s that, after years of research, still defy zoological classification. The discoveries could,

…completely reshape the tree of life, and even our understanding of how animals evolved, how neurosystems evolved, how different tissues evolved … It can rewrite whole textbooks in zoology.

• Vermont’s largest city is now powered completely by renewables.

• Another crack in the glass ceiling: Meet the Mississippi homecoming queen who is also the first female to make her high school’s varsity football team. This is Mississippi, where football is like a second religion, I might add.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• It looks like Tennessee Republicans aren’t total monsters after all: low-income working women in this state will soon get help with child care. Personally, I don’t understand why we don’t have government-sponsored free childcare for everyone. It’s just a no-brainer, especially now while the “job-creators” are sitting around with their thumbs up their asses counting their money and not doing much else. We have a lot of recent college grads who could use some job experience. When I lived in Copenhagen, working in day-care was pretty much everybody’s first job after college.

This week’s video: PUPPEHS! You cannot be unhappy watching this video. It’s just not possible.

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How Many People Have To Die For Our Original Mistake?

About that ....

About that ….

Headline from my local fishwrap today:

Iraq chaos disheartens Tennessee widow, soldier, senator

And from the story:

As Iraq plunges deeper into chaos, his wife says she hopes Hawn’s sacrifice wasn’t for nothing.

“There is a part of me who is relieved we’re not putting boots on the ground, that air strikes are a possibility,” Angie Hawn wrote in a text message on Monday. “Then there is the part of me that goes, don’t let Freddie’s death be in vain. Let’s go get this done.”

God, I don’t get this “don’t let them die in vain” crap. Wake up, people! How many more people have to die because we refuse to admit we made a colossal mistake the first time? Be pissed about it, get angry — Lord knows I’m angry, I’ve been angry for years — but for God’s sake, don’t send more of our soldiers to die in a war to protect the damn oil supply so your loss “won’t be in vain.” Face it, America: it was in vain. It’s horrible, it’s tragic, it’s an epic blunder for which there’s been zero accountability. Take to the streets about it, for God’s sake. Demand answers. But don’t make the same mistake twice.

We should never, ever have gone into Iraq. Never. End, full stop. What’s happening now in Iraq is exactly what we peaceniks said would happen waaaay back in 2002 when this was being “debated” the first time. Sectarian violence, civil war, Sunni vs Shia, etc. etc. etc. All of that stuff. We were told we were unpatriotic. We were told to support the troops. We were told to shut up and clap louder and put a yellow ribbon on our cars and stick a cork in it and stop talking about how much the war would cost because “deficits don’t matter.” We were right then, and we’re right now.

And to the mainstream news media, who banged the war drums so loudly 12 years ago: stop trotting out everyone who was completely wrong last time to offer “expertise” this time. There are no do-overs in warmongering.

I find it completely unacceptable that we live in a country where Americans will take to the streets to prevent their fellow citizens from having health insurance, but they refuse to acknowledge that this country sent its soldiers to die for oil company profits. Wake the fuck up, people.

No, there will not be “Iraq Forever.”

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Public Service Announcement: Pet Edition

People, I have to warn you: do not and I repeat do not, under any circumstances, use CostCo’s “Kirkland Signature” brand of flea & tick control! We’ve just had a disastrous experience not even 24 hours after applying the product to our cats.

I’ve used Advantage, Frontline and Revolution on our six cats for years. I didn’t know that CostCo even had its own brand of flea & tick treatment until Mr. Beale and I attended a crafts fair and CostCo had a table set up where they were advertising this stuff and selling memberships. Well, we’ve been CostCo members for years so we thought, “cool, a cheaper flea & tick treatment, what’s not to love?”

Hair loss! And a nasty mess all over the house, that’s what! OMG, this is the worst stuff ever. Almost as soon as we applied the treatment our cats’ hair started falling out. And the stuff doesn’t absorb like other flea products, so it leaves huge greasy stains everywhere — furniture, bedding, you name it. I had to wash the sheets on our bed after Quinn took his afternoon nap on it!

Look:

Quinn's hair started falling out ....

Quinn’s hair started falling out ….

So did Como's ..... finding this stuff EVERYWHERE ....

So did Como’s ….. finding this stuff EVERYWHERE ….

…. and I won’t bore you with photos of my dirty laundry. I’m wishing I’d read the product reviews at Amazon before using this stuff because the reviews are universally negative. I’m so disappointed in CostCo, it appears this product has been poisoning peoples’ pets for over a year, and there they are promoting it at a crafts’ fair? Shame on them.

I’m worried sick that more serious symptoms will appear. Our cats are like our children, and the idea that I’ve actually poisoned my animals has me frantic. I’m going to call the vet as soon as they open and see what they recommend, I might be spending my day giving six cats a bath. :-0

Anyway, it’s too late for me, but save yourselves! Do not use this product!

Quinn in happier times, like, last week.

Quinn in happier times, like, last week.

[UPDATE]:

Just spent about 2 hours on the phone with the vet, CostCo, product manufacturer, Animal Product Services Safety Center, etc. Diagnosis: bathing in Dawn dishwashing liquid.

They are not amused:

Pissed off kitty.

Pissed off kitty.

Misery loves company.

Misery loves company.

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Haley Barbour 2016

Apparently Mississippi “forgot” to ratify the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. Or, more accurately, they “lost the paperwork” when the Legislature finally got around to ratifying it in … wait for it … 1995.

Riiiiight.

Thanks to Steven Spielberg and the movie “Lincoln,” this oversight was brought to the attention of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office and it has now been fixed.

Which can only mean one thing: Haley Barbour is running for president!

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Goodbye, Toxic Talk

Building on yesterday’s Steve Gill post, I thought folks might be interested in this November column, “Talk Must Expand Beyond Politics To Survive.” Doug Stephen hosts a nationally-syndicated talk radio show, and he writes about the fallout experienced across the talk radio spectrum following Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke:

I’m not here to argue the point, but rather to tell you what this ONE incident has cost me as an independent in a sea of big corporate operators, who are obviously losing tens of millions of dollars due to this one event.

So far this year, my losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cancellations, avoidance and decisions to just not buy across the whole format, no matter what the content, have led to this rude awakening.

I’m not looking for Limbaugh to send me a check (although that would be nice), but I do think we have to let it be known that his actions have been devastating to our survival. I do think we have to do what we can to expand the format and let agencies know that their message can be safe with those who produce good programs that are fun, relevant and aimed at a different audience. Letting the news media, and even agencies, get away with lumping all hosts and content together is irresponsible for them and their clients because they know they get the best results from spots delivered in the spoken word formats.

What he’s saying is, Limbaugh’s inflammatory style has driven advertisers away from talk radio programming in general, and it’s hurting smaller players as well as the big guys. I’m not surprised, are you? So much political talk radio is toxic, and no advertiser wants to be the target of boycotts, constantly drawn into one national battle after another, forced to pick a side in the culture wars or debates over climate change. That’s the very stuff advertisers want to stay away from — at least publicly. Big corporate advertisers keep their political actions off the national radar, spending millions on lobbyists and shadowy front groups like ALEC or the American Enterprise Institute. Publicly it’s all hugs and lollipops.

I’m reminded that last summer, Ed Schultz and Sean Hannity told people to back off the boycotts because “a lot of people are getting hurt.” Awww. You know who else gets hurt by the toxic talk radio? Our democracy. Our political process. The nation as a whole, frozen in gridlock, where any timid step in one direction gins up howls of protest from the base on either side of the political spectrum.

People are burning out on politics, and I have to think talk radio is a big reason why. The conventional wisdom was always, inflammatory talk drives ratings and ratings are what advertisers care about. Neither of these suppositions appears to be true. I’ve always thought that negative talk and stuff like inflammatory campaign ads turns people off, and certainly major corporate advertisers are more concerned about their company’s image than anything else. If it’s not driving ratings or advertising revenue, then maybe the days of Limbaugh and the rest are waning.

For me, personally, I do listen to talk radio and watch cable television, but I avoid the political opinion stuff like the plague. I crave news and discussion of issues, not opinion. I have XM/Sirius in the car and at the house, but I rarely listen to the Talk Left channel. I listen to the BBC, World Radio, and the public radio channels: PRX and NPR. These channels don’t shove opinion and politics at you, it’s news and discussion of current events. When I watch TV it’s usually local news. If I watch MSNBC it’s not for Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz, it’s for shows like Melissa Harris-Perry or Up With Chris, where they discuss issues, not repeat talking points. I think this is the future of news and talk radio.

Does this mean all our problems are solved and we can return to having sane national conversations? No. Rush, Hannity and the like are way too important to the Wingnut Welfare Machine to go away. They’re the grease that keeps the right’s political grift machine moving. But I think that machine has taken a big hit, and will have to find another way to evangelize to anyone not already under the conservative rock.

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